It’s Occupational Therapy Week!
Every year Occupational Therapists spend a week highlighting how OT puts quality into our lives, seeing beyond diagnoses and limitations, to hopes and aspirations. They look at the relationships between our occupations, and consider the challenges to this. This year's OT Week is looking at how Occupational Therapy helps us to live our best life, at home, at work – and everywhere else.
An occupation is any activity that we need, want or like to do, to live and to look after our physical and mental health, and our emotional and spiritual wellbeing. It can be self-care, such as washing, eating or sleeping; productive, such as work, study, caring or domestic activities; and leisure, such as playing sports, hobbies or socialising.
Deborah Burnett, clinical lead occupational therapist, said: “Occupations are essential to living, they give our lives meaning, purpose and structure. They help shape who we are, connect us with others and help create our identity and sense of belonging. Focusing on occupation leads to improvements in our ability to do the things we need and want to do, our social relationships, communication and connections, as well as our mood, rest and sleep.”
For Cathy, a LOROS patient with emphysema, making a cup of tea was an important occupation , and when she was discharged home it was the first thing she wanted to be able to do.
Cathy said: “At home I used to go to make a cup of tea and couldn’t do it. I’d have to stop to have some oxygen. Turn to the fridge to get the milk out, couldn’t breathe. Stop and go back to bed. It’s been like that for a very long time. So when they asked me what I’d like to do when I got home, I told the Occupational Therapist that what I’d like is to be able to make a cup of tea.
I practised the movements and then with Lorna’s [the occupational therapist] help we went to the Enablement team’s training kitchen. I took the kettle to the sink to fill it. I kept remembering to breathe in through my nose and out through my mouth, ‘smelling the flowers, blow out the candles.’
“When I’d made that cup of tea I sat down and drank it at the table. It was incredible. Then I decided to wash the cup up too! When I got back to the Ward I sobbed my heart out. It was my biggest achievement in years. For more than a year and a half I’d kept trying to make a cup of tea and I finally had.”
We hope that #OTWeek has made you think about what your meaningful occupations are!